STARFEST a musical: Synopsis

Book and Lyrics by Mario Farwell

The play opens in the Council of Olar on the planet Nesban. The air is thick with trepidation, as council struggles with options of what should be done about Prince Zerker, who is waging war against the Lozeptain Federation. Zerker’s forces have been cutting through the Federation defenses like a knife, and seven systems have already fallen under his control. Soon his fleet will be at the door of the administrative center of the Federation, Nesban. The Council considers their options, and the only viable one is to bring the young Princess Lyra back from Earth to rally the forces. “Bring Her Home.” Starfest is given the staff of going to Earth and bringing Princess Lyra back to Nesban.

The scene shifts to the New York City loft apartment of Dennis Mc Cafferty, an aspiring cartoonist, and Lyra Williams, a singer. The two have been living together for nearly four years. There relationship has been on the rocks for quite sometime, and everything is coming to a head tonight. Lyra has decide to break off the relationship and move to California to pursue opportunities in the music business. Dennis has a difficult time understand how Lyra has come to such a drastic decision and wants to work out their differences. At one point during the argument, she references Dennis’ comic “Across the Universe" and sing how life would be so much simpler if life were a “Comic Book World”. (Duet) At the end of the song, Lyra leaves Dennis standing along. .

As the lights rise again, we see Dennis asleep at his drafting table. A shooting star is seen trekking across the night sky through a large upstage window. A small robot, Ty, appears, climbs down the fire escape and enters the loft. He sings of his traumatic journey to Earth “Be a Friend to Me.” He is followed by the cantankerous engineer, Rudgers, and finally the dashing Starfest each adding their own take on the events leading to their arrival on Earth.

Dennis is jolted from his sleep by the touch of Ty. Dennis assumes that he is being robbed. Starfest tells him that he has nothing to fear, “They come in peace.” They are looking for a young woman called Lyra. Dennis fears that he’s in the presences of some dangerous weirdoes and pleads with them to take what few valuable he has and go. Rudgers check a handheld device and informs Starfest that Prince Zerker's fleet is very close. In the middle of this tense confrontation, Lyra returns to the apartment to retrieve her daytimer. Starfest realized that this must be the Princess Lyra and explain that she must come with him. Dennis tries to stop them and is immobilizes by a ray guy. Lyra is taken by force and Dennis is also carried away.

The scene changes to Prince Zerker's starship where his crew is preparing to attack Starfest’s ship. The commanding officer of the fleet, Rubac, sings “His Time Has Come” enticing the viewer to join the forces of Prince Zerker. Zerker enters to reinforce the theme of his unstoppable power and ravels in the revenge he is about to extract on Starfest.

Back on Starfest's ship, the crew is struggling maintain control of the heavily damaged cruiser as they try to evade Zerker’s star fighters. Dennis and Lyra are still bewildered by the fantastic events that have occurred and currently unfolding. They both want to be taken back to Earth. Starfest informs them that he’s unable to return them to Earth, and their only hope for survival is to make it back to Nesban. Dennis decided to force the issue, by tampering with the controls of the ship, sending it into wild gyrations. Starfest slams Dennis into a wall; he is furious with Dennis. Starfest explains the dire situation they are all in, and the need for them join to him on his quest to defeat Prince Zerker. He sings “Family of Man” in an attempt to pursued Dennis and Lyra to go back to Nesban of their own free will. Lyra and Dennis acquiesce and they proceed to Nesban, where a huge welcome home party is in progress.

The scene shifts to the exterior of a space age discotheque on Nesban where throngs of want-to-be “A” listers are trying to get past an unscrupulous doorman and into the “Galaxy 500” club. The anchor of a local news program is on the scene giving commentary and getting reaction from the boisterous crowd of revelers. “Starfest” is sung by the company celebrating Starfest homecoming and mistaken victory over Prince Zerker. The scene shifts from the exterior of the discotheque to the interior where the production number continues and intensifies.

Tamballah, the Oracle of Olar, makes spectacular entrance complete with smoke and blinding flash. She is disgusted by the lack of concern of the people of Nesban have for the threat they face. She turns her attention to Princess Lyra. She tells Lyra of the prophecies of the seven moons, and that she is destined to use her powers to defeat the Prince. Tamballah quizzes Lyra on her knowledge of magical arts. She is shock to find out that she hasn’t been trained in the find art of spells, incantations etc. Tamballah sings “Get Yo’self Some Magic” trying to instill in her the urgency and necessity of being equipped with a knowledge of basic magic in order to have a chance at defeating Prince Zerker. Also in the song are cryptic directions to Zerker’s palace. Finally, Tamballah gives Lyra the Rings of the Seven Moons. The ring enables the wearer to harness the power of telekinesis. Tamballah leaves in the same spectacular fashion as she arrived.

The crowd is drawn to Lyra once they realize that she possesses the Ring of the Seven Moons. Lyra decides to try using the power of the ring. She has some success, but will have to develop greater skills, before she’s ready to confront someone as powerful as Prince Zerker. Starfest and company leave the bright lights of the city following Tamballah direction to the palace.

The scene changes to Zerker's palace where he and his mistress, Countess Arianus, are gloating over Starfest's presumed destruction. In a production number reminiscent of Frankenstein’s creation, Prince Zerker activates the Convertor, a mind-controlling robot, which is a prototype for an army of similar robots, he plans to use in his conquest of the galaxy. “Rise Up.” Tambullah is brought before Zerker to be used as the Convertor’s first test subject. Tamballah is defiant, announcing that Starfest lives, and warning Zerker to abandon his plans of conquest, or he will be destroyed. Tamballah pronouncement causes Zerker to waiver. Arianus sings “Conquering the Stars” to insure Zerker that there is no power capable of defeating him, and that she will always be by his side. At the end of song, Prince Zerker has regained his confidence and orders the experiment on Tamballah to proceed. Convertor turns his ray on Tamballah; she tries to fight it, but is quickly turns. Zerker decides to send Arianus to join Starfest with instructions to slow them down and bring them to palace when he has prepared a proper reception. After Arianus has left on her mission, Zerker instructs the Convertor to follow her and make sure she complete her mission, if not, kill her.

The scene shifts back to Starfest and company in route to the palace of Prince Zerker. They have entered a restricted area of the capital city know as “District 9.” This is where undesirable of the area are kept walled in. Lyra is exhausted and stops to rest. Starfest and company pause in the ruble of a once great metropolis. Ty suddenly becomes aware of unidentified forces approaching and sounds the alarm. The District Niners appear from the ruble armed and dangerous. Marbotti, the spokesman, questions Starfest on why he has enter a restricted area and explains how the District Niners have made the best of a bad situation in the song “District Number Nine”

Demalka, the flamboyant Mayor of District 9, arrives in a nick of time to saves Starfest. We soon discover they are old friends. Starfest tells Demalka of his plan to journey through the Black Hole Forest. She think he’s crazy for even thinking about entering such a dangerous place. Demalka convinces Starfest to except her hospitality and spends the night in District 9. Starfest manages to get a moment alone with Lyra. He explains the circumstance of her ending up on the planet Earth, and why it was necessary to bring her back to Nesban. She ask for Starfest to point out where the Earth would be in the Nesban sky. The immense reality of her situation finally sinks in. She’s sing about her feeling of being so far away from Earth in “I feel lost without you.” Dennis overhears her and assumes she is proclaim her affection for Starfest.

The next day Starfest and his crew are preparing to continue on their journey to Prince Zerker’s palace. Starfest has decided to leave Dennis and Lyra in the safe keeping of Demalka. Dennis insist that he continue on with the rest of them, and Starfest relents. It is determined that it is far too dangerous for Lrya to continue with them. Countess Arianus appears and offers to guide them through Black Hole Forest. Starfest is suspicious of Arianus, but decides to take a chance on her. Starfest, Dennis, Rudgers, Ty and Arianus depart District 9. Lyra is distraught about being left behind. Demalka tries to cheer her up, but Lyra snaps, telling her that she wants to be left alone. Demalka sings “Live To Dream Again” in an effort to put things in perceptive for Lyra. At the end of the song, the Convertor appears, attacks Demalka, knocking her unconscious. He then takes Lyra captive. The Convertor exits with Lyra in his arms. Demalka regains consciousness and gives orders to Marbotti to head the Convertor off and she will go inform Starfest of the situation. End of Act I.

Starfest and his crew arrive at a municipal transport center where a stargate is run by an unpleasant species, the Vogols. They are a stickler for rules and regulation. Starfest’s request for transport through the gate is denied, because he doesn’t have all of the proper papers. Dennis tries his hand at the art of gentle persuasion. The Vogols and Dennis sing “Thank You and Have a Nice Day.” At the end of the song the Vogols aren’t swayed by Dennis’ appeal, and Starfest and crew are left to ponder their next option. Ty picks up some alarming signals and Starfest and crew take cover. The Convertor appears and demands to be transported. The Vogols refuse and the Convertor zaps them. Before the Convertor enters the stargate, he instructs an attendant to destroy the control panel once everyone has entered. Starfest reappears, instructs Ty to interphase with the gate to get it operational. Suddenly, Demalka roars on stage. She informs them that Lyra has been taken by the Convertor. All of them enter the gate and disappear.

Lyra is brought before Prince Zerker’s in his throne room. Zerker is taken by Lyra’s beauty, and tell her of his desire to marry her. She tells him, “I’ll never marry you.” Zerker informs her that he has many ways of persuasion. He finally offers to spare Starfest and the rest of his band if she agrees to the wedding. Fireworks erupt when Zerker attempt to kiss Lyra. She slaps him and he becomes enraged and threatens her with most gruesome punishment. After Lyra is taken away, Zerker contemplate new feelings that have risen in him, because of his attraction to Lyra. “A Heart of Steel”

Starfest and company arrive at their destination and exit the stargate. There is some confusion of what to do next. A mysterious tap dancer, shoes-on-fire, appears. Starfest ask him if he knows how to get to the palace. Shoes-on-fire has no idea of its location. Starfest rethinks the instruction given to him by Tamballah, and when he utters the phrase “…those sparks and flames will fly.” Shoes-on-fire goes into a trance and begins tapping out a code. The message is the next clue on their journey to the palace. When Shoe-on-Fire emerges from his trance, he is horrified to find out that his shoes have given them information. Starfest and company leave. Soon after the convertor appears and zaps Shoes-on-Fire. He obediently follows the Convertor off-stage.

Meanwhile, Dennis, Rudgers and Demalka have managed to make it into the palace dressed as attendants with Demalka playing the role of prisoner. Dennis is desperate to find Lyra and set her free. The three have a chance encounter with the Convertor, and he informs them of the wedding between Prince Zerker and Princess Lyra. While fumbling around in the Convertor inner working, Dennis discovers a way to destroy the machine.

The last clue has lead Starfest, Ty and Arianus to the Rocks of Olar. They discover the way into palace is through a secret passage unlocked by firing lasers into the eyes of the huge sculpture.

Dennis fines Lyra in the tower. He tells her to stay strong and that they are going to get her out. Rudgers tells her that they will be at the wedding ceremony and to look for a sign. Dennis gives Lyra a parting kiss and promises that he’ll never desert her.

Starfest, Ty and Arianus enter the throne room. Zerker has laid a trap for them, and Starfest and Ty find themselves in the grip of forces beam. Arianus reveals her true identity. Zerker gloats over his triumph over Starfest and informs him of his plans to marry the Princess Lyra. Arianus flies into a rage; Zerker use’s his power to throw her across the room. Lyra is brought in for the wedding ceremony. The ceremony is interrupted by the Convertor's pronouncement that he will be taking over the reigns of power. Meanwhile, Arianus has managed to get to the controls and turn off the force field. Zerker immediately destroys Arianus. Starfest is free and Zerker has to deal with several threats at once. The Convertor fires on Zerker missing him and hitting Ty who immediately turns. Dennis and Rudgers yank open the back panel of the Convertor and push the red destruct button. Smoke and sparks come from the Convertor; he falls to floor inoperable. Zerker is enraged by the destruction of his creation and vows to kill them all. Zerker calls for reinforcement, and the District Niners arrive in a nick of time to do battle. “A Fight Ballet” Zerker is finally vanquished by Lyra with the help of Tamballah. With Zerker’s demise, the captive of his magic are free from his spell. Ty awakes to sing “Let There Be Heroes.” The mission has been completed. Lyra and Dennis say their good-byes and prepare to return to Earth via stargate. They enter the transport and disappear. The next time we see them; they are uncertain if they’ve made it back to Earth. They quickly realize that they are in a subway tunnel with an approaching train heading right at them, and they run for their lives. At the subway station, the train arrives and disgorges a bunch of disgruntled New Yorkers. Dennis having been changed by his recent experiences sings a reprise of “Let There Be Heroes” to get people to behave in a more compassionate manner.

The play ends back in their loft apartment with Dennis vowing never to let Lyra leave him again.

Synopsis for Joan of Arc

The musical opens in a flurry of activities as a medieval market place of France comes to life. The major players are introduced, and the tumultuous conditions in France are revealed in the prologue "One Hundred Years of Fighting." The scene shifts to Roen, during the time of Joan of Arc's imprisonment and inquisition. Bishop Cauchon, the Head Inquisitor, is formally charging her with crimes against the church. Other inquisitors appear from the shadows each with a specific crime to charge her with in "The Reading of the Articles." After the formal charges have been presented, she is asked to swear to tell the truth. Joan balks at the idea of swearing to tell her enemy everything that she knows. Bishop Cauchon skillfully guides Joan of Arc from arrogant defiance into a childhood reverie, where she relives the circumstances surrounding the appearance of her voices in "Bells."

While singing "Bells" the scene shifts to her childhood birthplace, Domremy. Joan's mother enters at the end of the song, bringing her back to reality with, "Get your head out of the clouds!" Her father enters, having just awakened from a disturbing dream in which his daughter sleeps with soldiers, fights in battles, and wears men’s clothing. He swears, if these things ever came to past, he would drown her. The scene ends on a conciliatory note when her parents sing of their love for Joan in "My Little Girl."

Joan's Council of Voices appears, tells her she is to lead a mighty army, crown the Dauphin King of France, and raise the siege of Orleans. The voices also inform her that she will have to leave her home and seek out Robert De Baudricourt who will send her to the Dauphin. When she arrives on Robert De Baudricourt's doorstep, he is too busy drinking and womanizing to be bothered with another unknown, untested visionary and orders her to be sent away. He then resumes his festive romp of drinking and womanizing in bawdy song, "Wine Women and Plunder." Joan persists in demanding to see him until he finally agrees. There is an immediate clash of wits and wills, and, in the end, Joan of Arc convinces Robert De Baudricourt that she should be sent to see the Dauphin.

The inquisitors reappear to question Joan on wearing men's clothing. Bishop Cauchon continuously tries to entrap her in statements that would go against Church doctrine. When the questioning turns to Joan's relationship with the Dauphin, she becomes infuriated by the inquisitor's accusation that the Dauphin/King is a heretic.

The scene shifts to Chinon where an introspective Dauphin sings of his wish to be king in "A Crown is Elusive." La Tremoille, the Dauphin's advisor, enters to announce that Robert Baudricourt proposes to send a prophet who claims to be able to name the rightful king of France and hear the voice of God. The Dauphin is elated by the news, but La Tremoille cautions against rash actions. They need a plan to test the authenticity of Joan of Arc. An elaborate deception is devised in which the members of court pretend to be the Dauphin. Upon entering the court, Joan of Arc immediately recognizes the Dauphin. She takes him aside and tells him things that only God and himself could know. He is convinced of her legitimacy, but La Tremoille advises him that the men of Poitier should determine if she is worthy. From the shadows, Bishop Cauchon appears to question Joan on the findings at Poitier. She informs him that the wise men of Poitier have found her fit for her mission. The Dauphin still vacillates on whether to send her to Orleans, and Joan, in an effort to convince him, sings "Prisoners of Our Time." The Dauphin finally acquiesces and sends her to Orleans.

Joan of Arc arrives at Orleans and is met by Dunois, the bastard of Orleans. She promptly scolds Dunois for trying to deceive her by not sending her directly against the English. She then climbs a rampart to the highest parapet and gives the English an ultimatum to surrender or die. Her ultimatum is met with scorn and mockery. The English soldier calls her the "Harlot of the Armangnacs." The scene changes to the war council where the trial and tribulation of war are being pondered. Joan is immensely frustrated by what she believes to be delay tactics and insists on an all-out attack. The next day "The Battle of Orleans" begins with the fall of the Bastille de Saint Loupe. Bastille des Augustine comes under attack next and it too falls. The final and most dramatic fighting takes place at Bastille des Tourelles that is burnt to the ground and many lives are lost. At this moment, Bishop Cauchon appears to point out the futility of her campaign against the English. She is extremely saddened by all those who have lost their lives and sings of their courage in "Noble Soldier."

Joan returns to the Dauphin with the intention of taking him to Reims to be crowned the King of France. The Dauphin informs her that there are still many strongholds that must fall before safe passage to Reims can be guaranteed. She convinces him that she can vanquish any enemy that stands in the way. The Dauphin agrees, and with courtiers, knights and the Archbishop of Reims, begins the journey, "The March to Reims."

In the great Cathedral at Reims, the Dauphin is crowned the King of France as the chorus sings out "Rejoice." The act ends with a refrain of "Bells" sung by Joan of Arc. Cauchon adds an ominous note when he sings, "False prophets shall have to pay."

Act two opens with Joan dictating a letter to the people of Reims in the letter, details of a truce between the King and the Duke of Burgundy are disclosed. Her life after the victory at Orleans has become a malaise of betrayals, treaties, truces and delays. She is rendered ineffectual by La Tremoille's conciliatory dealings with the English. Joan rails against the constant delays to engage the English in battle. The major player, King Charles VII, Duke of Burgundy, La Tremoille and Joan of Arc, sing of absurdity of power in "The Forest of Indecision."

There is a quick return to the inquisition proceedings where Cauchon questions Joan on another visionary, Catherine de Rochelle. Joan states that Catherine was a fraud and that she had proved it. There is a subtle shift in time and place. Catherine de Rochelle appears, and she and Joan lock in a reverie of the glories of being a visionary in "Dance of the Prophets."

The Duke of Bedford pays Bishop Cauchon a visit to discuss the progress of the inquisition. The Duke of Bedford makes it clear that he expect Joan to be burnt at the stake and any other outcome would mean severe consequences for the Bishop. After the meeting, Bishop Cauchon begins an all out attack on Joan of Arc. The court and battlefield merge; Cauchon accuses Joan of Arc of waging war on high holy days, and she slips farther into delusion and despair as her defeats and setbacks multiply. Her council of voices appears to tell her that she will be captured and imprisoned. La Tremoille, one of the people behind Joan's downfall, convinces the King that Joan of Arc has served her use, and the King should sever ties with her.

In a campsite outside of Compiegne, she becomes keenly aware that the hour of her capture grows near. She asks a fellow soldier to pray for her, because she will soon be delivered into the hands of the enemy. The young soldier sings "Beauty" to comfort Joan as she sleeps.

In the next scene a battle rages; Joan of Arc is trapped outside the fortress and captured. Cauchon begins his final onslaught of trickery and subterfuge to ensnare Joan with her own words. She is finally snared by a confused recount of a crown brought to the Dauphin by a choir of angels. Bishop Cauchon comes to Joan's jail cell to tell her she is to be excommunicated unless she recants. Cauchon tries to convince Joan to recant by explaining the natural order of life in medieval France in "Burning Tapestry." Joan agrees to recant, but doesn't realize that it means remaining in an English prison. She screams to be taken to a French prison as Cauchon exits.

A frantic inquisitor rushes into Bishop Cauchon's office. He tells the Bishop that Joan of Arc once again wears men’s clothing and hears voice. Cauchon concludes that she is a relapse heretic and must be burnt. Joan is brought to a town square where "The Reading of the Articles" of Condemnation takes place. At the end of the articles a fire is lit and she is burnt.

In the aftermath of Joan of Arc's death, many are bewildered and fearful of their own eternal damnation. The spirit of hope lives on as a peasant sings "Bells," other members of the company join in as the curtain falls.

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